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 Safety is paramount in oil and gas sector

Ongoing attention to safety and environmental protection is imperative and energy companies need to look closely at their safety practices.

That’s according to Jeremy Boak, Non Executive Director San Leon Energy Plc., Director of Center for Oil Shale Technology and Research, Colorado School of Mines. Boak will speak at the marcus evans Global Shale Gas Forum being held in Berlin next month.

Commenting on the devastating leak from a BP offshore oil rig into the Gulf of Mexico that is set to cost the company billions of dollars, Boak says:  “Constant attention to safety and environmental protection is really necessary. Every company should be looking hard at their safety practices.  I have a feeling the eco system will recover faster than the economy in the Gulf. As a geologist, life is a very robust system and in some ways I worry more about the economy in the Gulf than the biological system. Although we can’t pull anyone off the hook from meeting the regulations we have in place for cleaning up the mess they have made.”

Boak believes a much more forward approach has to be assured where the environment is concerned. “The constant attention to whether your safety culture is really having an effect everywhere in your most risky operations is a real challenge for any company to do well. There is a need for very intense vigilance. Most regulatory agencies just don’t have the staff to be checking everybody. So it really is incumbent upon the companies to recognise just how dangerous it can be to their bottom line.”

Boak, who has previously worked in nuclear safety, sounds the cautionary note that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

“One thing I did learn working in nuclear safety is that usually you have about 1,000 near misses for every minor accident and 100 of those for every substantial accident and 10 of those for every fatality. You’ve got a pyramid of causality there. Unfortunately the damage has spread farther than the company that’s responsible.”

The marcus evans Global Shale Gas Forum will be held in Berlin on 6-8 September, 2010.

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